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Not a single book or communication guru ever avoided the topic of a smile. Indeed, all this smilemania was started by Dale Carnegie in his 1936 epic How to Win Friends and Influence People.
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But Leil Lowndes, the author of How to Talk to Anyone, says that we are now doing our poor half-smiles so often and so quickly that they don’t mean as much.
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One day, Leil was at a party where she chatted with a recently divorced friend who had lost her job. In need of new contacts, this friend reacted to all males with a slight nod and a split-second smile.
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But then a small kid, son of the hosts, came to them. Leil’s friend turned toward the child, touched his elbow, and greeted him with a warm and full-blown smile.
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Leil asked her divorced friend to do the same to the grown-ups. After some hesitation, her friend greeted a new guest in the same way. Needless to say, she left a party with a new boyfriend.
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According to Leil, it was a combination of two techniques: Flooding Smile and The Big-Baby Pivot.
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The Flooding Smile means we look directly at the subject of our interest, don’t rush, wait for a second and, when sure we are noticed, allow for a big, warm wave of a smile to capture our whole face.
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The delay lets our partners understand that our smile is addressed strictly to them.
KEY IDEA: Don’t limit yourself with quick half-smiles.
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The Big-Baby Pivot, on the other hand, tells us to treat all grown-ups like Big Babies: our full-body turn towards them screams, “I think you are very, very special.”
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Next in our communications-must checklist is eye contact, and rightfully so. In one experiment, the participants were tricked into looking into their peers’ eyes to count their blinks in a conversation.